Fall River mayor plans to take leave of absence, drop out of race for re-election

FALL RIVER, MASS. (WHDH) - Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia will not run for re-election and is planning on taking a leave of absence after hanging on through multiple criminal charges and a recall election, a spokesman said.

Spokesperson George Regan announced Tuesday that Correia is planning to take a leave of absence and drop out of the race for re-election.

City Council President Cliff Ponte says he would take over as acting mayor.

Correia was elected mayor in 2015 at the age of 23, making him the youngest person to ever hold that position in the city. He was re-elected in 2017.

In October 2018, Correia was arrested and charged with wire fraud and filing false tax returns after he allegedly took $231,000 from his own company and defrauded investors. He refused calls to resign and Fall River held a recall election in March 2019.

A majority of voters in that recall, 61 percent, voted to recall Correia; however, he also ran for election in that race and received 35 percent of the vote — good enough for the majority among five candidates, leading to his re-election.

In September, Correia was again arrested, this time by the FBI on charges of extorting cannabis vendors in the city. The City Council voted 8-1 to temporarily remove Correia from office amid these accusations but he fought their decision in court and a judge ruled last Thursday that Correia could stay in office.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Correia placed second in September’s primary election, putting him on the ballot for the November general election.

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